Triglycerides Paradox Among the Oldest Old: “The Lower the Better?”

Yue Bin Lv, Chen Mao, Xiang Gao, Zhao Xue Yin, Virginia Byers Kraus, Jin Qiu Yuan, Juan Zhang, Jie Si Luo, Yi Zeng, Xiao Ming Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Currently, most treatment guidelines suggest lowering hypertriglyceridemia of any severity, even in elderly individuals. However associations of serum triglycerides (TGs) with adverse health and mortality risk decrease with age, it remains unclear among the oldest old (aged 80 years and older). The study was to investigate the relationship of serum TG concentrations with cognitive function, activities of daily living (ADLs), frailty, and mortality among the oldest old in a prospective cohort study. DESIGN: Longitudinal prospective cohort study. SETTING: Community-based setting in longevity areas in China. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 930 (mean age = 94.0 years) Chinese oldest old. MEASUREMENTS: The TG concentrations were measured at baseline survey in 2009. Cognitive function, ADLs, frailty, and mortality were determined over 5 years of follow-up. Cox proportional hazards models and competing risk models were performed to explore the association, adjusting for potential confounders. RESULTS: Each 1-mmol/L increase in TGs was associated with a nearly 20% lower risk of cognitive decline, ADL decline, and frailty aggravation during the 5 years of follow-up. Consistently, higher TGs (each 1 mmol/L) was associated with lower 5-year all-cause mortality after fully adjustment (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.69-0.89). Nonelevated TG concentrations (less than 2.26 mmol/L) were associated with higher mortality risk (HR = 1.72; 95% CI = 1.22-2.44), relative to TGs of 2.26 mmol/L or more. We observed similar results regarding TG concentrations and mortality in 1-year lag analysis and when excluding participants with identified chronic disease. CONCLUSION: In the oldest old, a higher concentration of TGs was associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline, ADL decline, frailty aggravation, and mortality. This paradox suggests the clinical importance of revisiting the concept of “the lower the better” for the oldest old. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:741–748, 2019.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-748
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Triglycerides Paradox Among the Oldest Old: “The Lower the Better?”'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this